In 1885 a collection of spontaneous cases and a discussion of the evidence was published under the title Phantasms of the Living, and though the standard of evidence was lower than at the present time, a substantial body of testimony, including many striking cases, was there put forward.
If we take it strictly to mean the belief in ghosts or spirits having the " vaporous materiality " proper to the objects of dream or hallucination, it is certain that the agency of such phantasms is not the sole cause to which all mystic happenings are referred (though ghosts and spirits are everywhere believed in, and appear to be endowed with greater predominance as religious synthesis advances amongst primitive peoples).
Marcion, for example, regarded the body of Christ merely as an "umbra," a "phantasms."
By reflection on dreams, in which the self, or " spirit," of the savage seems to wander free from the bounds of time and space, to see things remote, and to meet and recognize dead friends or foes; by speculation on the experiences of trance and of phantasms of the dead or living, beheld with waking eyes; by pondering on the phenomena of shadows, of breath, of death and life, the savage evolved the idea of a separable soul or spirit capable of surviving bodily death.
Not only are phantasms of the living experienced, we find also clear records, of phantasms of the living experienced, we find also clear records, of phantasms of the dead.